I did it! I didn’t die and I got the medal!
We were lucky that one of our IRunMommies friends (who happens to be seven months pregnant) now lives in Sarasota and was running the race. She picked us up at the hotel at 6 a.m. and drove us to the start. There was some traffic for parking, but it wasn’t too bad and we arrived before the 7 a.m. start in plenty of time.
I wished all of my IRunMommies friends good luck then went to the back of the pace groups to find two of my blogger friends. They were nice enough to agree to start out with me at my SLOW pace.
I’ve heard that there were about 2200 finishers at this race, but it didn’t seem like a crazy large crowd at the start.
After the singing of the National Anthem, we were off. I’m pretty sure this was the first time that Beth has ever started at the back of a race’s starting line queue.
With the flash on:
With the flash off:
The route took us towards the John Ringling Causeway, the one bridge on the course, and we passed the semi-famous 26-foot tall “Unconditional Surrender” statue of the sailor kissing the nurse.
Before we knew it we were heading up the ascent on the bridge.
I don’t think that this bridge was as steep or as long as the Clearwater Memorial Causeway, Belleair Causeway, or Misener Bridges, all of which I have run multiple times.
The sun was just starting to come up as we ascended the bridge.
I ran most of the first mile, but from then on out it was walk/run/walk/run at no particular intervals. Nanci was hoping to get her first sub-3:00 half finish (which she did…go Nanci!), so we encouraged her to go on ahead and Beth was nice enough to stick with me for a little while despite the fact that she is very speedy. I appreciated this sign:
After the bridge we headed towards a loop around St. Armand’s Circle and all it’s pricey little boutiques. Beth took the next photo in St. Armand’s Circle, proving that she is NOT normal.
After the circle we were headed back over the Ringling Causeway once more.
Beth stuck with me until the Mile 4 marker, then I let her go ahead at her own pace and I was on my own for the rest of the race.
Back up the bridge.
The weather was perfect. At the beginning of the race it was in the mid-50’s and once the sun rose it was a beautiful sunny day.
I love running DOWN bridges, although my hip doesn’t really like it.
I could already feel my hip beginning to hurt after the first few miles, so I knew that the last few were going to be really challenging.
After the Mile 5 marker we passed the semi-famous statue once more…
and headed back past the start for the second leg of the race. Somehow I missed the Mile 6 marker…
but I thought the kayak business sign next to the Mile 7 marker was funny.
Only non-Floridian tourists would consider mangrove tunnels “exotic”, I think. This leg of the race was a long straightaway heading north.
Finally we turned a corner at the Ringling Museum of Art.
They had a water/Gu stop here and I was lucky enough to get my favorite flavor…double caffeine espresso. I needed the sugar and the caffeine by this point.
Right past there I also saw this police dog named “Mack”…awesome.
My hip had been hurting for most of the race, but by Mile 9 everything was starting to hurt and feel fatigued. I know that I did not properly train for this race, but I don’t think I could have considering my hip. The more running I do, the more it hurts. I also have not been following the Whole30-type of diet that helped me be able to run at all again. I knew this was going to be hard.
After the turn at the Ringling Museum, the rest of the course weaved in and out through neighborhoods close to the water front. Every now and then there would be a glimpse of the water. These trees had some sort of interesting textile art wrapped around them.
The First Watch signs along the course were pretty humorous.
My longest “training” run for this race was 10 miles which I did every other weekend three times leading up to the race. Definitely not any sort of logical or recommended training plan. Once past the ten mile mark I was definitely feeling my fatigued legs and painful hip.
I loved all of the groups of ladies run/walking near my pace, however. They were very inspiring to me.
Past eleven miles it was definitely a struggle to keep going. I did still do run/walk intervals but not really in an attempt to go faster. Running was a break for my walking muscles, and vice versa. Switching it up was the least painful thing to do.
From mile 12 on I kept passing people who were finished, wearing their medals, and walking back to their cars or their houses. Invariably they said, “You’re almost finished! You’re almost there!” NOT helpful. I’m running a dang half marathon. I know exactly how far I am from the finished. A note to anyone reading this…unless you are at the 13 mile marker, do NOT say, “You are almost there!” It’s just really annoying. Finally I really WAS almost there.
My Garmin finish time and average pace are a little better because it auto-pauses when I completely stop and I did take a port-a-potty pit stop at one point. Obviously I stopped many times for a few seconds to take photos as always.
But whatever…I didn’t get picked up by the SAG wagon and I finished! My IRunMommies were cheering for me at the end.
They had also grabbed one of the yogurt parfaits and a muffin for me. Thanks ladies!
The parfait and muffin were awesome, but I was a little disappointed that there was no hot food from First Watch, especially since they had signs on the course that said, “Wakey, wakey, eggs & bakey!” Oh well. I definitely enjoyed my yogurt parfait and muffin.
I think that by the time I finished some of the post-race festivities had died down.
I know that some of my friends went to the beer tent at that point and they were out of beer already. They also ran out of medals and my pregnant IRunMommies friend, Meghann, was given one of last year’s medals when she finished the half marathon . So not cool. Meghann was nonchalant about it and didn’t really care, but I probably would have cried.
I hope they send her one of this year’s medals, because she definitely deserves it! She had a cold AND was 7 months pregnant and still completed a half marathon! Go Meghann, and thanks for driving us!
Post race euphoria photos:
Thanks to my awesome IRunMommies for motivating me as always!
It was a great day and a super fun time with my friends. I truly do intend for this to be my last half marathon. I want to still do shorter distance races and triathlons, but my hip just isn’t up to the long distance training. Next year Mack wants to do the half marathon relay with me!
Thanks First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon for a great event!